India snatch a thriller by 20 runs
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:West Indies v India
Player:S Chanderpaul, RR Sarwan, Yuvraj Singh, YK Pathan, DJ Bravo, DM Bravo
Event:India in West Indies 2009

DateLine: 26th June 2009


Yuvraj Singh alone made up for the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina, as his smashing century aided India start the four match ODI series with a 1-0 lead against West Indies at Kingston. The Windies though did not succumb easily as they kept the hunt going for most part of their innings but crucial wickets at regular intervals spelt doom for them and they lost the game by 20 runs.


Chasing a huge 340 to win, West Indies started on a brilliant note with their skipper Chris Gayle (37 off 33 wins) leading the way. The left-hander alongside Runako Morton (42 off 51 balls) added 65 runs for the first wicket in less than 10 overs. Then in trying to pull a delivery over the square-leg fielder, Gayle top-edged one straight to Harbhajan Singh.


Runako Morton then took over the charge for a brief while, hitting a couple of boundaries but then he also did not last long, given out caught behind off Yusuf Pathan. The wicket brought two of West Indies' most dependable batsman together on the crease. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul threatened together in their 51 run third-wicket stand. Sarwan (45 off 42 balls) also hit three huge sixes to keep the run-rate in check. But then bad judgement of a run cost him his wicket.


In walked Dwayne Bravo, the man who played spoilsport of India's party in the Super Eight stage of the recently concluded T20 WC. He looked patchy though and could garner only eight from 21 balls before bad umpiring paved his way back to the pavilion. Ishant Sharma bowled a fierce full toss around chest height which Bravo tried to smack only to find Rohit Sharma at covers. The batsman pleaded of being not out but to no avail.


The exit of the elder Bravo brought the younger one on the crease. Debutante Darren Bravo started in dream fashion hitting RP Singh for two boundaries in his first two balls. Chanderpaul on the other end had also started to look dangerous for MSD's men. The left-hander hit three boundaries and three sixes before flicking one straight to the mid-wicket fielder.


Thereafter wickets continued to fall and even though Denesh Ramdin and David Bernard (19 off 20 balls) threatened with their 44 run eighth-wicket stand, victory still eluded the Windies by a mere 20 runs as they were all-out with 11 balls still in hand.


Earlier batting first after winning the toss, India started off well as both openers Dinesh Karthik (67 off 77 balls) and Gautam Gambhir (13 off 14 balls) looked good for a short while. Short balls again then proved to be nemesis for Indian batting as first Gambhir and then Rohit Sharma were caught unawares. First Gambhir fell to a fast, quick bouncer from Jerome Taylor. Then Sharma got out to Lionel Baker and short deliveries looked the way to go for the Windies bowlers.


Thereafter Yuvraj Singh and Karthik took over. Yuvraj did take a little time to settle down wherein he played and missed on numerous occasions but once he settled down the bowling suddenly started to look of club level. Karthik also started to enjoy his comeback and both of them went berserk after the bowling.


The duo added 132 runs in just over 20 overs and the momentum India had lost owing to fall of wickets was back with the side. The partnership was finally broken when Karthik paddle-scooped one straight up for Ramdin to hold a simple catch.


Yuvraj though looked unstoppable as he picked up 15 runs in Lionel Baker's seventh over. He soon brought up his three figure score as well. The Yuvraj storm continued unabted. Sixes came in thick and fast as Dhoni also joined the party and the combination added 86 runs in 10 overs with Yuvi doing the bulk of the scoring.


The Southpaw though fell to a poor delivery. He edged one down the leg side and Ramdin dived to his right to take a fine catch.


Finally a few lusty blows from the willows of MS Dhoni (41 off 46 balls), Yusuf (40 not out from 38 balls) and Harbhajan (21 off 13 balls) made sure India reach a commanding 339 for the loss of six wickets. Harbhajan fittingly closed the innings with a huge six over long-on.


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